The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be busy before this season’s trade deadline. General manager Kyle Dubas is never shy to try and improve his hockey club as Leafs Nation has witnessed year in and year out management is trying to win the Stanley Cup. While the first-round curse is certainly alive and well, Dubas and company won’t stop until this team is primed for glory.
Expect to see a trade or two over the span of the next eight weeks and today we focus on the New Jersey Devils, a team on the outside looking in at a playoff spot and a team who the Maple Leafs should have on their radar for a deal. These two Devils should be trade targets for Toronto.
Could P.K. Subban finally be headed home to play in front of family and friends? It seems like every summer there’s at least one rumor out there stating the Maple Leafs have interest, but considering he’s in the final season of his massive contract, maybe this is the year? Subban has enjoyed a decent season so far in 2021-22, collecting 13 points in 33 games. Yes, his contract is $9 million on the books, so the Devils would need to retain the maximum for this to work, and some would question the fit, both very logical and sensible questions.
To me, Subban is an upgrade to Justin Holl. He’s a much better skater, more versatile, can buy-in to what role is needed and he’s never been one to shy away from contact. The slew foots can certainly take a hike, but perhaps some better decisions can be made during meaningful games with the Maple Leafs. The mobile defenseman is a trade target because he’s able to play in all situations, and he’s performed on the game’s biggest stage with 62 points in 96 Stanley Cup playoff games.
The Devils are currently nine points out of a playoff spot, with three teams to leapfrog. Needless to say, they’re in very tough to make the postseason so look for them to cash in on some assets, and Subban will likely be included. The 32-year-old defenseman isn’t the player he used to be, but he could still be very effective in a well-suited role. I see the homecoming working out. Toronto has a great dressing room full of leaders and characters and the Devils defenseman would do nothing but add some more life and energy into the mix.
While we’re on the topic of upgrading from Holl, let’s consider Severson to the Maple Leafs. He’s under contract for next season as well, with a $4.1 million cap hit. This number may be a little bit high for the Maple Leafs to swallow next season as the extension of Jack Campbell is becoming a top priority. With that being said, Toronto is likely to have some interest here at the right price.
Severson is a right-handed shot who has spent his entire eight-year NHL career in New Jersey. This season he’s managed to light the lamp five times and has totaled 15 points in 35 games in 2021-22. He would provide the Maple Leafs with a nice offensive spark from their blue line which only has produced 10 total goals this season.
The Brandon, Manitoba native would take a decent package to pry from the Devils as he eats up over 23 minutes of ice-time a night for New Jersey. Dubas would need to include not only Holl and a draft pick, but also a mid-to-high level prospect because this is a player who has term left on his contract and is performing well this season. If Severson is available and the price is right, this would be a great addition for the Maple Leafs.
Maple Leafs Have Assets to Deal With
While the Devils set up nicely for upgrading the right-side of defense for the Maple Leafs, a major factor in any deal is what exactly management is looking to give up. Toronto has become a team with a wealth of young talent not only on the Toronto Marlies but also still in junior hockey, the NCAA or overseas in Europe. While there would be a few untouchables and prospects Matthew Knies and Topi Niemela come to mind, there are still a number of players who could be used to package with a contract or two of their current NHL roster.
Rodion Amirov, Nick Robertson, Mac Hollowell, and Filip Kral are all players who have value on the trade market and could help fetch an NHL-proven upgrade before this season’s trade deadline. While Toronto doesn’t have a third, fourth, fifth or sixth-round pick at the 2022 NHL entry draft, it doesn’t mean Dubas and company can’t get creative to acquire more picks or include another prospect instead to suit the needs of other teams.
Toronto appears set to make an upgrade on defense and likely add another versatile forward to their group before the Mar.21 trade deadline. New Jersey has a couple of options on defense and depending on the acquisition cost, maybe we’ll see Dubas make a deal with the devil.
Shane covers any and everything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor to the THW family, his passion and unique perspective on the game results in some diverse content. Certainly versatile, you can find Seney also contributing at NHLTradeRumors.me, BaseballRumors.me & BBallRumors.com. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween